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NY Federal Judge: Unconstitutionally DOMA Intrudes On States’ Rights

Manhattan Federal Judge Barbara Jones has ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it improperly interferes with a state’s right to regulate marriage. The ruling by Jones comes in the wake of a decision by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston which upheld a lower court ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional.

Jones is the fifth judge to find DOMA unconstitutional.

Jones stated that DOMA intrudes upon
“upon the states’ business of regulating domestic relations. . .Such a sweeping federal review in this arena does not square with our federalist system of government.”

Additionally, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that California’s Prop 8 was unconsittutional.

This case was brought by Edith Windsor. The widow of Thea Spyer brought the case in order to recover the $353,053 in federal estate tax she was not allowed to claim due to her marriage to Spyer. The two married in Canada, an act that, for a straight couple, would be recognized by the US government. Roberta Kaplan, Windsor’s attorney, stated that “It’s a good day for justice.”

Paul Clement, the lawyer representing the United States House of Representatives in a desperate attempt to keep DOMA in place, has not commented on this ruling. To date, he has not won a single case regarding DOMA.

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